State’s First Rec Marijuana Figures Released

Colorado’s recreational marijuana shops earned roughly $14 million in January and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. Still, the overall numbers are short of initial estimates.

March 12 2014, 10:20 AM

Figures from Colorado’s Department of Revenue show potentially lower-than-expected sales of recreational marijuana across the state. Colorado collected a little more than $2 million in taxes from the first month of recreational marijuana, the Denver Post reported this week, which put sales statewide at roughly $14 million.

Governor John Hickenlooper—and legislative analysts—predicted 2014 recreational sales in the first six months would exceed $190 million, or nearly $32 million a month. If January numbers continue through June, recreational sales would total about $84 million—or less than half the anticipated number.

That’s a little misleading, though. Fifty-nine recreational marijuana shops filed tax forms for January, but only 24 were approved for sales on January 1—the day recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado. More than 150 stores have gotten approval for recreational sales in the state as of the end of February, but many still have yet to get local approval to open their shops. For obvious reasons, sales should climb as more shops get the green light.

According to the Post, the state “collected $1.4 million from a special 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, plus another $416,690 from the state's standard 2.9 percent sales tax.” Hickenlooper has said he’d like to see money earned through recreational-marijuana taxes put toward a slew of drug-treatment and preventative plans.

Recrecational businesses paid nearly $200,000 in excise tax in the year’s first month—which must be put toward school construction—and medical marijuana shops will hand over an additional $913,519 in sales taxes from January.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock